Elke Gerstenberger Adams passed away peacefully on Sunday, September 26th, 2021 in her home in Berwick, Maine, with her family and loved ones surrounding her. Elke bravely reached the gates of Heaven after a twenty- year long battle with cancer.
Elke was born on New Year’s Day, 1955 in Ladenburg, Germany to her very proud parents, Paul and Margarete Gerstenberger. She was a devoted older sister to her loving brother, Paul. As a child, she loved to go on adventures around her town, help her parents run their home and small business and spend time with friends.
Elke was 16 years old when she first met her future husband, Leonard E. Adams, an American soldier stationed in Germany after his tour in Vietnam. They fell in love almost instantly. After waiting nearly two years, to her mother’s chagrin, Elke moved to the United States and married her soulmate, Leonard, on August 18th, 1973. She and Leonard began their new journey as man and wife in Pennsylvania. They lived there for a few years until they moved to New York, where they eventually settled, after buying a small cottage in Mohegan Lake.
Elke and Lenny lived in marital bliss in their home on Stoney Street for 37 years. Before becoming a mother, Elke worked at Savin Business Machines as an account manager for the computer department. After having her two sons, Leonard (Little Lenny) and Daniel (Dan), raising her boys became her primary job. While simultaneously caring for her children and husband as well as keeping a meticulous home, she also worked a multitude of jobs, including house cleaning, customer service associate at Kohls and administrative assistant at a development company and Graymoor Fransiscan Friars of the Atonement. Elke was also very involved in church life, through which she made life-long friends who became more like family.
Elke retired in 2016 due to health concerns and her desire to spend more time with her family. In 2018, she and her husband Lenny sold their home in Mohegan Lake and bought property in Berwick, Maine, down the street from her eldest son, Lenny, and his family. There, she and Leonard built their dream home.
Elke and Leonard recently celebrated their 48th wedding anniversary this summer. Their love and devotion to each other over the years was an example to all who met them. They loved reading scripture together, vacationing in Bar Harbor and working outside on their property.
Elke also enjoyed working in her greenhouse, gardening, walking along the beach with her loyal dog, Neekeeta, attending church and having weekly dinners with her son, Lenny, daughter-in-law, Karen and grandchildren, Ariah and Lev. Elke was happiest when she was surrounded by her entire family. She was very proud of her youngest son Danny, who is a Major in the Air Force. This summer, she was able to enjoy three weeks of family time when Danny, his wife, Megan, and four children, Aidan, Helen, Klara and Clementine, came to stay with her while en route to their newest assignment in Germany.
Elke will be remembered as a profoundly kind and generous woman. She was always helping someone, even people she barely knew. She hated being idle, and would often have her husband drive her around to local stores to buy food, clothes and home goods to give away to people she knew would enjoy them. She was always happy to cancel her plans so she could babysit her grandchildren, even without much notice.
The family is planning a Celebration of Life on Saturday October 2nd, 2021 at 2 pm at Wells Beach (rain date: Sunday, October 3rd). Please contact the family for more details.
Those who wish to honor Elke may make a donation in her name to the Cancer Treatment Center of America in Philadelphia.
Proverbs.31 verses 10-31
To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Elke Gerstenberger Adams, please visit our floral store.
Cancer Treatment Center of America
1331 Eat Wyoming Ave., Philadelphia PA 19124